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What herb or remedy treats what condition? Let’s dive deep into research, folk lore and herbalism to... View more
What herb or remedy treats what condition? Let’s dive deep into research, folk lore and herbalism to learn how effectively plants can heal.
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Reply To: Activated Charcoal
- MemberJanuary 4, 2024 at 11:40 am
“In 1846, Garrod the elder of Aldersgate Medical School in England, conducted
the first controlled trial investigating charcoal’s efficacy with several poisons on
a variety of animals including: dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and frogs. His
poison of choice was strychnine, but other studies also included opium, aconite,
hemlock, belladonna, stramonium, silver nitrate, and mercury. Garrod employed
an animal charcoal preparation called “ivory black” from which minerals were
Famous [and Not So Famous] Events in Toxicologic History
Timothy Erickson, MD, FACEP, FACMT
extracted by treatment with acid. He was also the first to advocate early postingestion charcoal administration, as well as defining a proper charcoal: poison
ratio. Similar observations were made in England by Graham and Hoffmann who
added lethal quantities of strychnine to pale ale which was treated with charcoal.
After the charcoal was filtered off, the pale ale was found to be palatable, and the
strychnine was recovered quantitatively from the charcoal.
On our side of the Atlantic, American physician Hort successfully treated a
mercury bichloride poisoned patient with a powdered charcoal in 1834. Initial
charcoal administration was administered 44 hours after ingestion, “which afforded great relief”. In 1848, physician B. Howard Rand of Philadelphia followed
up Gerrod’s studies and was the first to study charcoal’s efficacy in humans
— including himself.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Russian toxicologist Ostrejko demonstrated that super heating charcoal with steam increased its adsorptive power.
Despite these pioneering studies, charcoal was not used again clinically until
1960 when re-popularized by pediatricians Holt and Holz: “In our opinion charcoal should be restored to the pharmacopoeia, not as a remedy for flatulence or
intestinal intoxication, but as an emergency antidote for poisons. A bottle on
every medicine shelf would go a long way to combat serious poisonings in the